I have lived in Hong Kong for more than 20 years but somehow I have never done this one. I acted as an obedient mule on two occasions but I have never done the Trailwalker myself. Also – you can’t do HK 100K grand slam without doing OTW. So I made the decision to enter the lottery. Plan B was to find a team in case I fail in the lottery. I was lucky – first time trying and I got the place.
The team assembly was pretty quick – Sean was on board from the very beginning, Martijn and Stuart joined us soon after the lottery . Interesting mix – one OTW veteran, two OTW newbies and one 100K virgin. It took about 2 mins to come up with the team name. We managed several training runs together covering the complete OTW route although we were not always able to train all four of us together.
OTW2015 Awoosome Four Start
I felt quite OK after the hot Saturday in the hills but I was a bit tired from all the sun. Luckily I planned only an easy jog, somewhere around 10km. Also a week or so ago I was lucky in OTW lottery so this run was good opportunity to meet up with Sean and discuss our plans for the Trailwalker.
This was a easy jog on the very familiar route – starting from the Sinopec station at the Wong Nai Chung Gap and running towards Braemer Hill. Easy running pace, the only bit I walked was the short uphill after Mt. Butler Road. Turning back down to North Point at the Po Luen Path marker would make my run a bit too short so I suggested to go a bit further and do also the 800m loop before coming back.
Back at the Po Luen Path marker I turned right toward North Point while Sean continued back in the direction of Wong Nai Chung Gap.
Easy jog, recovery run but also some back-to-back effort for my legs. Good end to a running week.
Link to Strava here.
I have been playing around with the idea of going for the OTW myself this year. But at the time when the applications were to be submitted I was not sure if I will be up for it (pain in the hip area). I skipped the registration process and told myself that I may consider joining some team later on. But in the meantime I signed up for other races and doing OTW no longer made sense for me. The plus side was – I was free to do the support again.
When the HKTR Team Force 1 announced their plan to conquer the 100km I was quickly up for it. I still had great memories from 2013 and I was not going to miss out on another great day (and night) out.
The support team preparations were not as meticulous as year ago. And with few former supporters taking on the OTW challenge themselves this year the support team was a bit smaller in size. But Dom took charge of the planning and together with the team worked out a solid support schedule. I made myself available for the Shatin Pass to Route Twisk section. I must admit though that I was a bit worried when I found out that I was to be the only mule for the team for these almost 30km. And my worry level spiked when only 3 days ahead of Trailwalker a weird pain struck my right foot while walking in the MTR. There were all the signs of incoming PF issues. I did not want to start any panic. But when the pain did not go away I made the team aware that I have some issues. Having some back up in case my foot deserts me sounded like a wise idea. I felt relief when Dom offered to run a bit further his bit while knowing that Vic also could be available a section earlier. At the same time I mobilized all the “screw the pain” gear – tape, foam roller, ice pack, arched flip flops – making sure I will be in decent shape. This combo somehow worked. The pain was still there but more so while I was sitting and tended to go away while I was moving. It looked like I would be good to go.
I have never done the Oxfam Trailwalker myself. I was contemplating joining this year for about 10 minutes. But then I decided to focus my preparations on HK100 in January and signed up for shorter 70km long LT70 instead.
I still wanted to participate in Trailwalker though and when the HKTR Bros started to build their support team that was to help them to achieve sub 15 hours finish I joined in.